Hitler, HMRC and how we were all played yesterday


Do you know the story of the Hitler Diaries?  A shamelessly brilliant German got into the business of selling forged (and some genuine) Nazi memorabilia to sympathisers.  In the 1980s, his masterstroke was to handwrite 60 volumes of, largely mundane, diaries, which he claimed were the personal memoirs of Adolf Hitler.  He sold them for millions.

The Times was the first UK publication to verify the authenticity of the diaries, paving the way for their publication by their sister paper, the Sunday Times.  Both papers had a bit of form in this area, promoting and buying rights to fake Mussolini diaries.  The Hitler Diaries were a sensation when the Sunday Times ran them, at the time, it was regarded as the story of the decade.

Within weeks, the world knew the diaries were fake and wondered how the Times group could so easily be duped, after falsely promoting yet another fascist dictator’s documents.

An entertaining dramatisation of these events, Selling Hitler, was broadcast in 1991, which portrayed Nazi sympathisers and a few historians as gullible fools, but it reserved a different verdict to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper paid £750k for UK rights to fake documents.  On the surface, this looks ridiculous, but the point the TV dramatization made was that the authenticity of the ‘news’ was neither-here-nor-there, enough people bought the newspaper to make the exercise an overwhelming commercial success.

You and I may think The Times made a fool of themselves yesterday by getting a story so wrong, that HMRC took to Twitter last night to protest, “As widely reported today and to clarify: HMRC won against Rangers’ tax avoidance in the Supreme Court, and did not miscalculate anything”.

But we are missing the point.  The Times newspapers know that the authenticity of the story stands independent of its commercial viability.  Their story yesterday was a commercial success, perhaps their biggest in Scotland for years.  Fake news has been successful news for Times publications since they bought the Mussolini diaries in 1968 and nothing has changed since.

And yes, gullible loons are still prepared to believe any revisionist nonsense. The truth is, Hitler, Mussolini and Rangers were each solely responsible for their own destruction, no matter what Times Group newspapers erroneously imply.

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  1. Ray Winstone's Big Disembodied Heid on

    What’s the difference between that Times article and the double decker bus found on the moon.



    They are all now The Daily Sport.

  2. Hunderbirds are Gone on

    Sorry to drag the blog back to Football, but was there ever any solid news on the diagnosis and prognosis of Hatem Abd Elhamed’s injury? He is a player we could be doing with, between now and the Winter Solstice



  3. The Battered Bunnet on

    From a little while ago…



    “Early in 2010, following an unusually long Tax Enquiry, Rangers received a Tax Assessment from HMRC for their use of EBTs in the preceding 10 years. The Bill for £24M, had a further £12M of accrued interest attached, and the promise of penalties to come.



    Alastair Johnston, who had replaced Murray as Chairman of Rangers following the crash of Murray’s business empire, had a decision to make. In the summer of 2010, £36M tax demand in hand, and an appeal against which scheduled for October, Johnston was planning the coming season’s business. He could have chosen to sell the top footballers which would have brought in around £20M of proceeds. He could have chosen to run the club on a reduced cost model, one that was profitable on domestic football alone, thereby banking a further £20M from their participation in the Champions League. Had he done so, and ring fenced the cash, Rangers would have been in a position to withstand losing the Tax Case Appeal without bankrupting the club.



    Alastair Johnston and his Board chose not to. He chose instead to spend money increasing the size of the squad, with £4M spent on Jelavic alone. Whatever else you hear about Rangers’ sorry plight, remember that in the summer of 2010 Alastair Johnston and his Board decided to prioritise football results ahead of the very existence of the club. That was the last time that Rangers’ fate was in the hands of the Club.



    From the moment the decision was taken not to act, Rangers’ fate was sealed.”

  4. Paul 67,



    Why though, and why now. ?



    There is an agenda at play here and a single Donald Trump style tweet of denial from HMRC will not suffice.



    What will be the fallout :-



    Will the huns be inspired with a sense of injustice.


    Has it got political overtones at this crucial time in Scotland’s destiny



    This is not just a football story or a story to sell undesirable newspapers, there is more , much more to it.




  5. glendalystonsils on




    I share your unease with this . Not paranoid enough , based on my knowledge and deep mistrust of the establishment.

  6. The Management at the Sunday Times began to get a wee bit twitchy re the Hitler Diaries when they learned that the super duper historian who had validated them had struggled to understand the (written in German ) menu in a Hamburg restaurant . They told Murdoch about their concerns — his response was to order — Go head and publish —- it’ll sell big time . He was right -it did .



    Today’s lunchtime choon .-


    Timi Yuro . Allegedly Reggie Kray’s favourite singer .



  7. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    The ” Thunderer ” puts its reputation on the line behind a piece of dodgy analysis re. HMRC .


    Why ?



    From the millions to be earned from pandering to the hun intelligentsia .


    What intelligentsia ?


    Can`t imagine too many huns queuing up to purchase a copy.


    Now or at any stage in the future.




    Now. The Hitler diaries.


    To die for.


    Had they been authenticated.

  8. Good to see that this non-event has driven one such gullible loon to produce two blogs on the subject.


    There a reason why tumbleweeds greet the posting of another RQN blog on the evil HMRC empire….


    I mean, it’s not a if there are any Celtic related newsworthy topics out there, such as the threat of losing a key coach, injury concerns over El Hamed & Elyounoussi or the over-reliance on Celtic players in pointless Scotland qualifiers…let just write more about the huns instead…

  9. Hello again all you young rebels.



    Remember when international breaks were a time of tumbleweed


    and roasted cheese on CQN?


    And then along comes another few days of complete and utter merriment


    from the Glasscow ragers.


    To be honest, i’ve often stated i’d love that lot buried and forgotten, but…


    but… where would we get our right good belly laughs?


    So maybe as a token of our humanitarian and charitable beliefs we could


    find a way to relieve the burden of their debt and probably stop any move


    towards social unrest by giving them a loan.


    Yes a loan!


    I know that sounds incredulous, but think about the headlines.





    O.k i’m on ma hoarse.


    H.H . Mick

  10. By the way, a little snippet from the interview with WTT’s Head of Tax Thomas Wallace



    18. Could Sir David Murray or anyone else involved in the dispute sue HMRC, and how likely is it they would be successful?



    “This is a legal question more than tax, but I struggle to understand why as he has not suffered any personal financial loss.”



    Curious that eh? How the Sun would anticipate somebody who hasn’t been directly affected like David Murray is still entitled to compensation?

  11. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    The internet wasn’t around at the time of ‘The Hitler Diaries’ and The Times’ business model wasn’t under existential threat. Whilst it can be used to spread ‘fake news’, the internet is also means to ascertain the facts and is a source of some decent free content such that people are no longer willing to pay for crap.



    The Times tries to differentiate itself on the quality of its content in order to justify a pay-wall. Whilst running tosh like this may get them a short-term pop in circulation, it will ultimately damage their reputation; people will not pay for click-bait. As I said last night, what does this say about the credibility of their other non-football content?

  12. Cannot remember which teacher (probably Modern Studies) used to stress that the Times “is a paper of record”,


    something I understood as it would be acceptable to quote it in an essay, as opposed to say the Ayrshire Post


    Looks like it still is. It’s the daily record.

  13. This question was asked of BRTH last night – no reply – probably never seen the question – does anyone else have an answer on this?



    I have a question though thats puzzled me for sometime, after they went into administration pending Liquidation, one of the first actions by the administrators was to ask the SPFL to approve a contract allowing rangers to re-sign Daniel Cousin,



    surely even at that stage the administrators would have known that the game was up and it was time to stop rangers from spending money they didn’t have?



    I mean how weird was that – brought in to tidy up the mess and their FIRST action was to help them bu another player? I remember at the time folks thinking they must be OK because their still signing players.

  14. RTB- Cousin was signed just before Liquidation, I believe it was the last deal they done.Interestingly,Willie McKay was his agent, as he was Boumsongs…..


    Rock Tree Bhoy



    I have no idea what the Administrators were thinking re Cousins.



    However, the liquidators have sued the Administrators for negligence and that possibly answers your question.




  16. The whole administration by Duff and Phelps was bizarre. The first thing a proper Admin would have done was to cut salaries to the bone. To transfer some of the expensive players and then finish coaches and officials.



    I assumed that as they were nominated by Whyte and were his admin of choice then they were knee deep in the plot. What then happened did not dispel my thoughts





    Read the links above.



    There is correspondence there which shows that Whyte thought Administration would last hours!!



    This is where the seriously deluded professionals come in and the crap is fed to the papers who should have just nodded and said nothing.





    “There is an agenda at play here and a single Donald Trump style tweet of denial from HMRC will not suffice.”




    I cannot see anything Trump like in the HMRC tweet.



    It was 100% true


    It did not call out any other party with belittling names


    It did not aggrandise itself or claim that it always wins its arguments.


    & it did not promise to make HMRC great again

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